Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

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Second Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Again, I loathe to call this week 2.  Why?  Because I got my dumb bunny butt sick last Sunday and have been recovering, so it’s week 2 out of 2 I haven’t done the proper training on the proper schedule.  However, considering the half is 10 weeks away whether I do it or not, here we go.

Last week’s plan went to crap so let’s just examine what I did:

Monday – sick.  Barely made it through work.  Was in no condition to do anything but lay on the couch and go to sleep around 9pm.

Tuesday – still sick, but not quite as much.  I needed to move around so I did about 80% intensity DDR for about 30 mins.

Wednesday- felt better, but was snotty and coughy, so I stayed out of the gym for the sake of other people.  If it wasn’t freezy outside I would have run but I didn’t want to aggravate the cold.  Did 30 mins full intensity DDR instead.

Thursday – felt good enough to gym.  Did 4 miles, allowed myself to go as slow as I wanted even though it was supposed to be my tempo.  Got bored going supah slow and ended up around 10:20 pace.  Could have gone faster too, but I didn’t have a rest day between runs so I took it as easy as I would let myself without going insane.

Friday- felt good and did my 6 mile long run for the week.  Came in at a 10 min/mile pace.  I’m supposed to be long running at around 9:40 so considering I still had the phlegm going on, I won’t complain.

Weekend – fail.  Was supposed to do a 4×800 sprint session, or at least put in the miles, but I just rested.

So, considering I came down with the funk and sounded mostly like a dying narwhal all week, I feel like I did ok.  I still have some congestion going on, but feel 100% healthy, so it’s time to pick up the pace.  So, I present to you, Week 3!

Monday: warmup, 3×1600 @ 8:25 pace, cooldown.

Tuesday: DDR circuits (weights, I has missed you!)

Wednesday:  5 mile tempo @ 8:55 per mile (eeep – I didn’t even race this fast)

Thursday: DDR circuits (or equivalent gym type activities)

Friday: 7 mile run @ 9:40 per mile (yipes.  Just…yipes)

Weekend: rest

Yoga shall be done twice this week.  Whenever I can fit it in.

To be quite honest, the paces scare the crap out of me.  But I figure the next few weeks I’m going to slog through them and see how close I can get (since I have a day of not-running after each), and then later, if my body still doesn’t wanna move so fast, adjust my expectations for my half time.  This is the first week that *should* go as planned so cross your fingers for me!  The weather is not cooperating well with my happy fun outside time, but considering I continually feel BETTER and FASTER when I get to run outside than when I get on a treaddy, I think it’s less key this time around than when I had barely ever run outside.

Other Things of Thingeeness:

-After my diatribe on smoking, I went 7 full days without one, and didn’t feel so crave-y until the alcohol came out Saturday.  I think I was fairly responsible and didn’t have too many, and haven’t had one since.  The cold weather helps.  I think the goal will continue to be no smokes during non party times unless I’m crazy for one, and if I am, I should examine why (is it habit, stress, trying to suppress appetite, etc).  During party time, keep it to one smoke per drink, max (and not use that as an excuse to start chugging drinks).

-I haven’t touched my book.  I’m feeling burnt out in general, but definitely in terms of writing.  I’m giving myself a little leeway here this month but it’s definitely one of my resolutions.

-We hung our Christmas lights on Saturday!  Along with our tree, and old timey holiday music going all day, my little bah humbug heart grew at least 2 sizes.

-It really hit me Friday how gosh darn broke we are this month. Two weeks forced unpaid leave for Zliten at the end of the month, 6 months of car insurance coming due the 22nd (high time we get a better deal on car insurance), other bills, some dental work, gifts, etc etc. Considering we DO have 2 weeks off together for the first time in forever, we don’t want to just sit at home.  So for the next 2 weeks, it’s cook/hang out at home palooza (a positive spin on something otherwise known as eating out/drinking out = banned)!  We really sat down and looked for yummy recipes we’re excited about.  Some are a little heartier and higher calorie, but these are the sacrifices I make so Zliten doesn’t pout too badly.  Luckily, we’ve got a work party and 2 friend parties so we’re not going to feel *too* antisocial.  We have some really cool plans for our time off and don’t want to have to cancel them!

-Also in that vein, I have given up clothes shopping for the month of December.  I originally said that I would give up clothes for the month (which got a “woohoo” from Zliten), but that would be cold.  So unless my only pair of nude nylons gets a run or somehow I am in need of something for running I cannot live without, no fashion related purchases until 2010.  I know, I’m crying a little on the inside too.

-Oh, if anyone’s curious about my weight (yeah, didn’t think so), I’m still hanging out right around that 154 range.  As always, I’m making the effort to eat healthily the majority of the time, and y’all know my workouts are hardcore, but my body just doesn’t want to budge.  I counted my calories last week just as practice, but it’s reinforcing what I knew I would be at – about 1400 during the week, about 1800-2000 weekends.   Which I think is reasonable and think that it seems like cruel and unusual torture to drop below.  I’ve been doing some thought on that but I’ll save it for another navel gazing day.

I think that just about wraps it up.  Everyone have a good weekend?  What’s your #1 on your holiday wishlist from Santa?

Half Marathon Training, Week 2

How did the first week go?  I’ll tell ya.

About to do the chicken (turkey) dance?

About to do the chicken (turkey) dance?

Monday: 5 mile pace (let’s call it a tempo)

Check.  I felt much better after completing this one.  Instead of BARELY finishing under 10 min/mile pace, I came in at 46 and some change.  Much closer to where I need to be.  It was a little faster than normal tempo pace for the rest of the training, but more purposed towards a “test run” for my race.

Tuesday: DDR circuit (these are still kicking my butt wonderfully)

Check.  This is great cross training.  I need to come up with something else to do occasionally but damn it’s a nice little cardio/weights/awesome home butt kicking workout all in an hour.

Wednesday: yoga/rest

Check.  I actually wanted to work out this day and felt weird resting but it was all good because then I was rested for my…

Thursday: 5 mile RACE (let’s call this my long run)

Check.  I was aiming for under 45 minute, but once I ran through the course itself with it’s myriad of HILLS (there is one street on the course I hate WALKING up or BIKING up, let alone running as fast as I can up it towards the end of the 5th mile), I was perfectly happy with 45:50.  A little intimidated that it’s right about the pace I’m aiming to run the half at, but hey, I’ve got 11 weeks, right? 🙂

Friday: DDR circuit

Check.  Didn’t want to, but did it anyway.  Felt just dandy after.

Saturday: 4×400 sprints (1 mile w/up + c/down, 400m recovery in between)

Check.  Zliten and I went to the track and he got a nice jog in while I did my sprints.  All sprints were between 1:50 – 1:58.  It was a little harder than I remembered, but I also think I was not 100% and starting to get sick.

Sunday: rest

Oh yeah.  I was pretty much in sick mode and didn’t leave the couch much at all besides some delicious chinese food.

15k people on a Thursday morning look like this.

15k people on a Thursday morning look like this.

So what’s up for this next week?

To be quite honest, I feel crappy and unsure about even calling this week 2.  Mostly, because I feel crappy myself.  Yesterday I started to come down with something (ok, probably Saturday but I ignored it…bad Quix) and today it’s still here.  My throat is sore, my nose is a wee bit runny and plugged, and I’m going from hot to cold to hot to cold to hot in literally 5 minutes.  Normally, I’m just coldcoldcold *momentofcomfort* coldcoldcold, so I know I’m out of whack.

I probably could push through and run today if my life depended on it,  hell, a year or 2 ago I probably would have, but after reading up on workouts while sick, the general consensus is:

-Stick to light/moderate intensity workouts and no heavy weights.  Sadly, I don’t think sprints are in this category.

-If you just have head cold symptoms, you can workout (but still lighter than normal).  I don’t have any lung issues, but the fact that I sweat through 2 pairs of PJs last night and the hotcoldhotcold makes me think that perhaps it’s a sign to chillax.

-If you’re feeling tired, it’s probably best to rest (and considering I rested ALL DAY yesterday, went to sleep at 11pm, dragged myself out of bed at 9:30am, and I’m still dragging ass today – I’ll call that tired).

And this is what 15k people look like once they get going...

So the plan for this next week was:

Monday: 4×800 sprints

Tuesday: DDR circuit

Wednesday: 4 mile tempo

Thursday: DDR circuit

Friday: 6 mile run

Weekend: rest

Obviously, this is not going to happen.  I expect the week to look more like this:

Monday: sleeeeeep

Tuesday: light DDR (no weights)

Wednesday: 4 mile VERY SLOW

Thursday: DDR circuit

Friday: 4×800 sprints

Saturday: 6 mile run

Sunday: rest

I normally would not do sprints and my long run back to back, but considering 6 miles isn’t THAT long, I can probably do it, as long as I’m feeling 100% by then.  It’s also entirely possible that the week might look like this, depending on how long I feel crappy:

Monday:  sleeeeeep

Tuesday: sleeeeeeep

Wednesday: walk around the block

Thursday: light DDR

Friday: walk around the two surrounding blocks

Weekend: rest

I am just going to play it by ear.  If I feel crappy, I’m gonna rest.  If I feel ok, I’m going to workout.  I’m also going to remember that I have 10 more weeks after this one to make it through, and the only way to do that is to recover fully as quickly as possible.  And risking injury by pushing through workouts when I feel this crappy is NOT the way to do it.

There we go.  Race 6.  Soon my toes are gonna have to get in on the action...

There we go. Race 6. Soon my toes are gonna have to get in on the action...


Fail.  30.5k words still.  I might write a little tonight but I sorta quit on it this week.  I threw a little temper tantrum about it and realized that the most important thing to come out of this with is a renewed sense of love for writing and the knowledge that writing a book is not nearly as daunting of a task as I thought it was.  Writing everyday is daunting.  Promising to do anything every day for me is daunting.  Beyond waking up, brushing my teeth, eating something, reading something on the internet, and going to sleep, there is nothing I do every day.  I need days off work.  I need days off working out.  I need days off being responsible.  Writing is no different.

That’s not to say I don’t love writing (or working out, or whatnot).  I just can’t spend two hours of my day every day doing it with all my other responsibilities and hobbies and need for a social life (pshaw).  So, the plan going forward is to dedicate 6 hours per week – about my workout time on a normal week.  1.5 hours x2 weekdays, and 3 hours on a weekend.  Once I finish, I’ll dedicate the time to editing.  If that seems like a comfortable amount of time to spend per week, I’ll continue that into 2010 and start a new one.

So what’s up this week for you?  What is your best cold cure?  Do you work out when you’re sick?

Second Half Marathon Training, Week 1

So, let me just wrap up last week before I get on with it.  It was pretty much a bust.  I injured myself and couldn’t run Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday I had an event to go to and still felt a little stiff, and apparently I had something emotionally to work out as Zliten and I stayed up until 4am drinking on a weekday, so I was too exhausted Thursday after slogging through a tough day at work hungover on no sleep.  Yeah.   Hello, me 3 years ago.  I did get up and do a 6 mile run and a killer DDR circuit Friday and Saturday, but I am still very disappointed with how much I’ve let distance running lapse this summer, and how HARD that was to just keep up a pace that was about what I’ve targeted my long run pace to be (around 9:45 per mile).  Sunday, I counted 6 hours of shopping as my cardio.

Yet again this week, I am terrified of the scale.  Not that I think I did that badly, it’s just this irrational thing that happens once I let go of tracking, I think I’m going to just start gaining and gaining.  I don’t trust myself yet to really know what to do without the numbers.  We will see.  A healthy day today and a nice long run tonight, and I’ll be ready to hop on tomorrow morning so I can give a “start weight” for the half process.

While my goal is still to get down to under 150 by December 31st, I am not going to actively try to cut calories very low for the rest of the year.  I reached my low weight of 150.2 a few weeks into half training last time just with increased exercise (before my appetite caught up).  Maybe this will happen again!  Regardless – pushing my body to run harder, better, faster, stronger is more important than losing a few lbs as of today.

So, let’s get on with it.

Basic Half Marathon Goals:

-Using the FIRST half marathon methodology (of course, an amalgamation of lots of different plans though), I’m going to be ONLY running 3 days per week.  But the running days, they are killer.  Most Mondays are sprints days.  They vary between 4×400 to start out with (with a mile warmup and cooldown) and 5×1600 (same).  Wednesdays are tempo runs, ranging from 4-8 miles before the taper.  Friday/Sat/Sun (one of these days): is the long run, progressing from 5 miles this week to 12 miles before the taper.

I noticed that I am a lot better and fresher with a day off between runs and feel like I can expend more effort.  I also remember feeling like slogging through some of those 4-5 mile slow pace weekday runs were pointless.  I totally get the 3 quality runs per week idea and the research shows that most people PR with the training.  It also means I can keep up with DDR and weights as well without feeling like I have to squeeze it in.

-I’m going to try the “lots of food/good food” type approach.  Trying to limit my intake during training was like trying to ask a dragon politely not to breathe fire.  So I’m going to give myself permission to snack as much as I want on APPROVED things, like veggies, jerky, pistachios… and probably find some healthy, whole grainy carb type things.  I will keep my meals unchanged.  This is not going to be an excuse to hit the buffet and eat 1500 calories.  I will also NOT eat out of the fridge.  This has to stop before it starts.  If I want a modest snack of turkey pepperoni, a bowl of pistachios, and a tub of mixed greens, I need to serve it to myself and take it at least to the couch.

-My “pie in the sky” goal is sub 2 hours.  My 5k time translated into half marathon time says I should be able to do it.  The reality is – I’m just much better at short distance speed than I am picking up the pace beyond my “run forever” pace of about 10:30-11 minute miles once I get in the double digits.  My realistic goal is to beat my time from the last one.  My “the-day-is-shite” goal is just to finish without walking.

This week is a little weird as I’m doing a 5 mile race on thanksgiving.  I haven’t trained for it for crap, but I think with race day jitters I can at least pull out a 45 minute (9 min mile) pace.  If not, hey, I ran 5 miles Thanksgiving morning before I stuff my face with turkey, and I got a groovy shirt.  Totally win.  So this week is:

Monday: 5 mile pace (let’s call it a tempo)

Tuesday: DDR circuit (these are still kicking my butt wonderfully)

Wednesday: yoga/rest

Thursday: 5 mile RACE (let’s call this my long run)

Friday: DDR circuit

Saturday: 4×400 sprints (1 mile w/up + cool down, 400m recovery in between)

Sunday: rest

Normally, it would be run M/W/F, DDR circuits Tu/Th, but the race mucks this up.  I already screwed up the ability to run this all outside (unless I decide tonight to hit the track for 5 miles in the dark…hmmm…didn’t think of that before) but unless the weather brings forth some icky icky clouds I’m golden for sprints at the track on Saturday.

The paces frighten me.  For an approximate 9:10 goal pace, which is a 2 hour half, here is what they want me to train at:

400s – 1:58 (no problem)

800s – 4:02 (again, no problem)

1600s – 8:25 (no problem in theory, 5 of these in one workout will be KILLER though)

tempo: 8:55 per mile (err, 8 miles below 9 minute miles? sceeery!!!)

long run: 9:40 per mile (this will be pretty brutal too, but I feel more confident about this than the tempos).

Wish me luck!  Anyone ever done 3 day per week running training, or at least focused on quantity over quality miles?  Any suggestions on making improvements on long distance pace?   My brain just seems to get intimidated and shut off the ability to really push myself above a 5k.

I’m about 9k words behind.  I’m going to try and rally this week… but that would mean almost 2700 words per day.  What I’m going to do if I *don’t* finish is to dedicate at least 1.5 hours after work 2 days per week and 3 hours on a weekend day EACH WEEK until I finish.  Unless I’m really inspired to talk about it before then for some reason, I’ll let you in on how I did December 1st.

And, if you made it through this far, let me reward you with this gem.  I feel greeeeeeeaaaattt!  Baaaaabiiiieeesss!!!!  Happy faux-Wednesday if you’ve got a short week like we have for Thanksgiving!  If not, happy Monday to the lot of ya.

Sorry, Monday, I’m Just Not That Into You…

Attitude is everything.  I’ve taken some really rough days and put a positive spin on them and come out alright.  I’ve gotten through some tough times in my life just with optimistic thinking.  So why, when everything is going great, and I feeling so…bleh?

I’m thankful for having a job at a stable company that has a successful product where I’m making a living wage at a title that is not beneath me.  However, I’ve been at that title for 4 years now and it’s time to move up (I’ve never gone so long without a promotion).  Plus, I miss the creativity I used to have earlier this year.  That one post I made a few months ago all excited about job stuff?  That’s on hold and I’m onto something else not quite as exciting.

I’m thankful for have been able to able to lose 110 lbs, and go from someone who grumbled about having to park 100 feet away from her apartment to a half marathon runner.  However, it’s been the greater part of a year since I really took off any more weight.  Why the hell can’t I get it together and finish this up?  Also, a trend I’m not liking is I feel like I’m becoming less enthusiastic about my workouts.

I’m just feeling all around burnt out lately.  This year has been crazy (crazy cool, but still crazy) – it started in March with the birthdays and then April with half training, and then in July, it was wedding, wedding, wedding until October.  I figured things would calm down but now it’s been taking care of all the stuff I’ve put off since the wedding.  Plus I decided to take on NaNoWriMo.  And next week begins half marathon training.

I feel like the guy in Office Space who just wants to do nothing.  The silly thing is, I know it’s crazy because I go NUTS doing nothing.  I think the combination of stressing over my sticky scale numbers, having a period of work where I’m just not quite as into what I’m doing as I could be, not having had a good, lengthy, and relaxing vacation in a while, and feeling obligated to do something at every moment of the day this month is just about making me crack.

But don’t cry for me. Seriously.  I saw you taking that tissue out and just go ahead and put it back.

The Write Stuff:

Even though I’m stressing about it, NaNoWriMo has been a great experience that I will be immensely proud of, even if I don’t get to 50k words (but I’m not giving up!!).  Just sitting down to write a story and getting through it has been huge for me.  Though it’s been hell some days to find time to write, and yesterday I just couldn’t get inspired, I’m pleased with my consistency of being able to sit down and flow.  While this week was too crazy to write most days (hence, why I got so behind), I pulled over 7000 words out this weekend.

Words needed to be on track: 25000

Words written: 20500

Words per day needed this week to catch up: 2400

One thing I’m also realizing – it doesn’t need to be THE BOOK for me to start writing it.  You know, the masterpiece.  The one that’s going to somehow become a best seller and I’ll be able to retire and go move to Vermont like all writers do or whatever.  If I can speedwrite a short book in one month, I can chip away at a novel a year.  Slow, sure.  But it’s better than not writing and complaining about it.  I think it is going to be a goal from now on to write at least one novel per year.

Food, Glorious Food:

I’d say I lost it here this week, but honestly, I don’t know for sure.  I stopped tracking mid-week and just couldn’t bring myself to start it up again.  The key days were Wednesday, Friday, and the weekend.

Wednesday – work event, which I sailed through.  I ordered a DELICIOUS asian chicken salad and only used half the dressing.  Then later, for dinner, I ate a bunch of fried appetizers after some drinking.  This is sort of a wash.  Sure, I ate crap.  But at least I had the sense to split the crap with other people and then realize I was done eating for the night even though it was an appetizer.

Friday, I had a buffalo burger, wheat bun, no butter and split some fries for lunch.  I was hoping to love it since it’s a fairly healthy option for Fuddruckers, but I just didn’t.  The meat tasted weird.  We had grilled chicken, tiny baked potatoes, and my famous veggie pasta salad for dinner.  However, there were two margaritas on a beautiful patio and some drinks later, so again, kind of a wash.

Saturday, I knew I needed major fortification, so I had a footlong subway turkey with no cheese and lots of veggies and an apple.  That got me through the day until the party, where I cooked a feast (more on the tomorrow) and pushed tropical drinks on my guests!  There was some healthy (veggie tray, veggie curry, etc), and some not so healthy (fried lumpia, fried chicken katsu, etc), and I ate some of both.  Come on, a good cook ALWAYS tastes the creations.

Sunday, minus the pizza that found it’s way into the house during lunch time (Zliten’s fault!  He didn’t even give me the chance to veto, he just left and came back with it), I noshed on the leftover veggies, salad, soup, fruit, and for dinner we made tiny filets.

All in all, I think what happened is I slipped back into “balanced lifestyle” mode instead of “weight loss” mode.  I didn’t go off the deep end.  I balanced out the alcohol and junk with a lot of fruits and veggies.  And this was even left to my own devices.  I’d venture that I averaged maybe 1700 calories per day this week total, which is not what I’m aiming for, but not up to my maintenance calories either.  I’d call it a victory, but I haven’t had the courage to step on a scale yet.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll let you know. 🙂  Last week, I bounced between 154.2 and 155.4.  Disheartening as I was hoping to continue the downward trend, but encouraging as I was not up and down like normal.  I’ll take what I can get.

This week, my goal is to stay under 1500 calories per day (closer to 1300 if I can), minus a planned event Wednesday which I’ll allow up to 2000.

Body Movin’:

I talked about this a lot this week with my abrupt end to shredding, unplanned day off minus some yoga Wednesday, and my subsequent discovery of DDR circuits that I refined on Friday, so I’ll spare you any more details.  I took the entire weekend off to give myself a rest and am back at it this week.  This is essentially my week 0 for half training, and I’m getting myself prepared to run more by bumping it up to 3 days this week.  I am a week and a half from my 5 mile race, and I just haven’t trained much for it specifically, so I’m just hoping for the best.  Here is the plan:

Monday: 10 mins warmup, 6×400 sprints, 10 minute cooldown

Tuesday: 5 mile run at attempted race pace (45 minutes)

Wednesday: off

Thursday:DDR circuit

Friday: 3.1 mile tempo run (yeah, I’m going to chase my sub 25 5k ONE LAST TIME before half training starts and I need to be a reasonable human and stop running so fast and work on running far)

Weekend: DDR circuit and a bike adventure

Wednesday is off because I have to be into work early anyway to go to said event at 5:30, and I don’t do early early morning workouts so I’ll adjust the rest of my week accordingly.  I may reconsider and do a regular strength session tonight at the gym after my sprints instead of so much on the weekend, but we will see.  Without schedule conflicts, I would have run M/W/F (sprints/tempo/long) and did DDR circuits Tu/Th.

I still owe before and after shred pictures.  I’ll get on that.

So bloggy people, how was your weekend?  Anything supah cool?  Anyone else kinda feeling the blahs and just CANNOT WAIT for some damn time off over the holidays?   Wanna tell me what an arsehole I am for feeling whiny?  Your opportunity awaits…

And yes, it was another Natalie Dee day.  It just felt right.

DDR Circuits

So what did I do instead?  I think the title says it all.  I wanted to take the awesome from the 30 day shred and convert it into something I could do sans DVD with my own twist on things.

I present to you, DDR circuits (version 1):

1 song warmup

1 song + 1 minute strength, rinse and repeat 12 times

1 more song

1 song cooldown

The exercise list:

Arms – traveling pushups, 10 lb chest flys, plank flys, lat raises

Abs – bicycles, double crunches, supermans, and plank twists

Legs/arms – squat and press, lunge and hammer curl, front rows with military press, side arm raises with calf raises.

You’ll recognize most of this from the 30 Day Shred (minus the last legs and arms exercise I concocted all on my own).

The verdict?  I did about 3/4 of a normal 30 minute DDR session, burning about 3/4 of the calories.  I got through a normal strength session worth of 12 exercises.  It took about 50 minutes, where that workout would usually take about an hour and a quarter, minimum, so bonus.  However, it felt…underwhelming.  It was too easy.  I’ll reserve judgment for tomorrow, but it felt like a nice light workout.  Totally not on par with a shred.  I’m not giving up however.

I present to you, DDR circuits (version 2):

5 song warmup

2 strength exercises – 3 mins total

2 songs

1 ab exercises for 1 minute

x 4 total

5 song cooldown

Same exercise list.

Basically, this is Jillian’s 3-2(ish)-1 ratio

Verdict:  the ratio rules.  I feel worked just like a shred without any of the heel pain.  This will probably make up a good amount of my cross training days during half training.  Its a full strength and cardio workout in less than an hour.

And on that note, I’m going to disconnect from lappy and enjoy the rest of my (pre-planned) hookey day.  It’s about 75 and sunny and I think I need to find somewhere outside to soak it up.

Have a lovely weekend!

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